New national restrictions are in place. Make sure you know what to do to Protect Portsmouth.
Under the new national restrictions, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place between 5 November 2020 and 2 December 2020.
Civil marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations are a legal alternative to church ceremonies.
Portsmouth register office is responsible for the legal aspect of all marriages and civil partnerships in Portsmouth. It’s also a licensed venue for the ceremonies themselves.
Check a list of approved wedding and civil ceremony venues in Portsmouth.
You can contact us if you have any questions, if you would like to view our ceremony rooms or to make a provisional booking.
You can email us or call 023 9282 9041 .
You can also write to, or visit us at:
Our opening hours are:
Monday – Friday: 9am to 4.30pm
For emergencies outside normal office hours on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays – please phone 023 9282 2251.
This includes help arranging a marriage involving someone who is terminally ill.
Please note: we can only assist with events taking place within the City of Portsmouth (PO1-PO6).
For events taking place elsewhere please contact the Register Office for that district.
From 8 June 2020, Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership appointments can take place in Portsmouth.
This will be strictly by appointment only and for time critical notices only: for example if you have a provisional booking for a ceremony due to take place within the next three months.
Please telephone our ceremonies office on 023 9282 9041. We will arrange an appointment for you and confirm which documents you are required to bring with you.
The Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership procedure is a face to face interview with a registrar and you will be required to attend the register office in person..
We only require the person/s giving notice to attend and you must not bring other family members with you. If you or any member of your household is self-isolating or has any recent symptoms of Covid-19 please do not attend and contact us to rearrange your appointment.
Our Milldam House ceremony room can hold a maximum of 12 guests. See the latest government guidance on number of guests allowed at weddings. Face coverings are now mandatory for all those attending.
Face coverings are now mandatory for all guests attending wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships at a register office or approved venue. Official government guidance
If you choose to marry in the Church of England, the vicar will deal with all legal aspects for you.
However, if you wish to marry at any other religious building registered for marriages, you will need to give notice of marriage with Portsmouth register office yourself. This includes Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, Roman Catholic or Sikh venues. The section below ‘Notice of marriage or civil partnership’ explains what this means.
It is usually only possible to be married in a religious building in the district where one or both of you live or worship.
The religious venue will generally have a authorised person to conduct the ceremony and register your marriage. Otherwise, you will need to ensure a registrar from the local register office is available to register your marriage. Contact the local register office before finalising any arrangements with the minister. There will be a fee for a registrar to attend.
Once you decide to marry – in a religious service or a civil ceremony – or register as civil partners – you must by law make your intentions public in the district, or districts, where you both live.
Those getting married in a church ‘call the banns’. Those opting for a civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration must make an appointment with the local registrar to give ‘notice of marriage’ or ‘notice of civil partnership’ – an official record of permission for the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration to take place. Notices are legal preliminaries to marriage or civil partnership which must be given in person by both parties. A friend or relative cannot do this.
The registrar then posts a notice publicly for 28 days. This legal requirement gives time for anyone to dispute the validity of the proposed union. After 28 days a civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration can take place.
If you book your ceremony or registration date first, you should post your notices of marriage or civil partnership within eight weeks. If the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration is more than a year away, the registrar will advise you when and where you should give your notices.
You must both have lived continuously in any one district of England or Wales for seven days immediately before the date you give notice. If you both live in the same district, if possible you should attend together to give your notices of marriage or civil partnership. It does not matter if either of you move to a different address after the notice has been given.
The notice is valid for 12 months, but is not proof of a marriage or civil partnership. The marriage or civil partnership certificate, which is issued after the ceremony or registration, is the proof of a marriage or civil partnership.
The cost of posting a notice of marriage or civil partnership is £35 per person.
When you give your notice of marriage or civil partnership, there are certain documents that you need to show:
Your marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration cannot go ahead unless the legal formalities have been completed.
There is more information on Gov.uk about the documents for a notice of marriage or civic partnership appointment. If either you or your partner are from outside the European Union, please phone the register office before arranging any appointments, as there are different procedures and documents involved.
You will need to book both:
The fees charged are for the registrars to attend and officiate at your ceremony. If you book a ceremony at an approved venue, the venue will advise of their fees separately. There is no fee for the venue if you book a ceremony at Milldam House or the Register Office room.
There is no legal ceremony for a civil partnership. Signing the schedule makes a civil partnership official. Both partners and the two witnesses must sign the schedule. If you want to add an extra ceremony to mark the event you will need to do it separately. This can either be held at Milldam House or at an approved venue such as a hotel.
Please visit our Citizenship, renewal of vows, naming and civil partnership ceremonies page for further information.
A civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration must be overseen by a registrar to ensure legal requirements are met. In Portsmouth you can book a registrar up to two years in advance.
The fee is £65 and is non-refundable. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as the couple being overseas, friends and family can’t make this booking.
Anyone, who wants to register a marriage or civil partnership in England and Wales will have to give a notice in their district of residence. A notice period of 28 clear days must pass before a ceremony / registration can take place.
Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership fee is £35 per person. There is an extra fee of £15 per person for Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership appointments on a Saturday. Saturday appointments have very limited availability. The Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership fee is nonrefundable.
Civil Partnership registration costs £57.
Portsmouth Register Office – Milldam House Ceremony Room (maximum 45 guests*, minimum 2 guests)
Milldam House Room is available from 10am-3.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-3pm Saturday.
It offers the opportunity to make an entrance to music (optional). Personal vows or a reading may be included (optional).
* Please note: under current social distancing measures Milldam House has the capacity to hold a maximum of 12 guests. This includes all children, adults and a photographer. This does not include the couple being married. From 8th August, it is mandatory for all guests to wear a face covering. Please do not invite any extra guests to wait in the garden or around the building as they will not be allowed to enter.
Approved venues in Portsmouth
For a ceremony at an approved venue, you will need to check availability with both the venue and the registrars. The fees below are for the registrars to attend at the venue and officiate at your ceremony. The venue will advise of their fees separately.
|Approved venue fee by ceremony start time||Monday to Thursday||Friday||Saturday||Sunday or Bank Holiday|
|9.30am - 5.15pm||£491||£521||£586||£686|
|5.30pm - 7.00pm||£591||£621||£686||£786|
|7.30pm - 9.30pm||£791||£821||£886||£986|
Portsmouth Register Office
Statutory marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration (2 guests only – these will be your witnesses,so must both be over the age of 18)
Monday – not available
Tuesday to Thursday – £57
Friday to Sunday – not available
Bank Holidays – not available
Statutory marriage ceremonies or civil partnership registrations are available at 9.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Ceremonies or registrations take place in a working office, not a ceremony room. You may hear noise from the reception area. Music and personal vows or readings are not allowed. You must bring two witnesses to your ceremony or registration. They must be over the age of 18 and be able to speak and understand English.
Please note that this room is fully-booked until January 2021. We still have a lot of availability for marriage ceremonies in our Milldam House room.
Should you need to cancel a ceremony please contact us as soon as possible. Provisional booking fee and notice fees are non-refundable.
A civil marriage ceremony is simple. You will make two statements (see below). We will ask you to choose one from the declaratory words and one from the contracting words which we will guide you through:
You will then sign the register in front of two witnesses and receive a certificate.
The couple can choose to exchange one or two rings – this is optional.
If you want to make your ceremony more personal you can discuss this with the registrar. At a Milldam House ceremony, you can include either longer personal vows or one short reading. At an approved venue ceremony, you can add longer personal vows and some readings if you wish. In all cases, no religious content is allowed. The readings and personal vows must be appropriate. They must be approved by the Superintendent Registrar two weeks before the ceremony.
You receive a certificate as proof of your marriage or civil partnership. You can order more certificates. Please see the official copy certificates page for instructions on how to do this.
Civil Partnerships are an alternative for couples who may feel that marriage is not right for them. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, you can check the national government website for more information
Couples who form a civil partnership have a new legal status, that of ‘civil partner’. This makes your relationship legally official. Some of the benefits that civil partnership registration gives you as a couple include: